Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 HD camcorder
The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 camcorder provides very good performance for its quite reasonable price.
- Good image quality for asking price, above average low-light performance, impressive battery life
- MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec incompatible with some editing applications, unintuitive menu
Sanyo has made a name for itself producing high quality, low cost camcorders and the Xacti VPC-FH1 is no exception. While it cannot hope to match high-end models from Canon or Sony, it remains a solid performer nonetheless.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is a low-priced digital camcorder that delivers good-looking video and stills, with image quality just slightly trailing that of HD camcorders priced nearly three times as much. Indeed, with an RRP of just $799, it's pretty hard to go wrong.
However, the tradeoff comes in its lack of bells and whistles. The VPC-FH1 omits several features that make those more-expensive cameras easier to use under many conditions, and pricier models also provide users with more image control. For some potential buyers, more-expensive camcorders such as the Canon Legria HF S10 and the Panasonic HDC-TM300 are worth their cost. For many others, the Xacti VPC-FH1 will be a stellar value.
The Sanyo camcorder uses a single 1/2.5-inch CMOS sensor to capture 1920-by-1080 video at 60 progressive frames per second (60p), 60 interlaced frames per second (60i), or 30 progressive frames per second (30p). The camera can also record 720/30p video and 8-megapixel stills.
The VPC-FH1 also includes a slow-motion option that supports recording at up to 600 fps (though at increasingly reduced resolution), employs face recognition to improve focus and exposure, has a 10X optical zoom lens, and records to SDHC cards.
Video is encoded as MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 with AAC audio. Although these are the same codecs used by AVCHD camcorders, Sanyo doesn't implement the full AVCHD spec. The VPC-FH1's MPEG-4 files play nicely in the bundled Nero 8 Essentials software, but some editing applications may require first converting the MPEG-4 files to another format.
In playback, the Xacti VPC-FH1's output performs quite well. In PC World Test Center jury evaluations, the VPC-FH1's video quality was just a shade below that of three $1500-and-up camcorders from Canon, Panasonic, and Sony. Video shot under typical interior lighting conditions earned a score of Good, falling short of the dynamic range and colour accuracy found in footage from the best HD camcorders.
In low-light conditions, the VPC-FH1 outperformed every camcorder except one in our six-camcorder test group. Even so, jurors rated low-light image quality as only Fair. Overall, the Xacti VPC-FH1 earned a combined video-quality score of Good, with only the Canon Vixia HF S10 and the Panasonic HDC-TM300 faring better in our tests.
You can also take still photos of good quality with this camcorder. In PC World Test Center jury evaluations, the VPC-FH1 earned high marks for sharpness, lack of distortion, and overall image quality. Still-photo quality earned an overall score of Good--about what you'd get with a decent yet cheap point-and-shoot camera.
And not only is the VPC-FH1 cost-efficient; it proved to be fairly fuel-efficient, as well. The camcorder lasted a little over 2 hours on a single charge of its battery, outpacing all the more-expensive camcorders in our roundup. Its 122-minute battery life earned it a score of Very Good.
So what do you give up with the VPC-FH1? The 3-inch LCD screen looks less sharp than those on some expensive cameras, and the digital-only image stabiliser isn't always effective. The camera lacks a microphone jack, an accessory shoe, and an option for recording at 24 progressive frames per second. We also didn't find the menus to be as intuitive as we'd have liked, and the automated and manual recording modes are not as robust as those on more-expensive cameras.
But if you can live with these shortcomings, and if your editing software works well with the camera's MP4 files, then you can save a lot of money with the VPC-FH1. It's a lot of camcorder for the price.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
- Facebook launches tool for capturing 360 video inside VR
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
- Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- GAMOSPHERE: Your August Roundup of Gaming News
- Google WiFi review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCServer Administrator / EngineerNSW
- TPSenior Business Analyst - HCMQLD
- FTPractice Manager - SecurityVIC
- FTDynamics 365 DeveloperOther
- CCPerformance Test AnalystsACT
- TPDomain ArchitectACT
- CCAppian BPM DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Application Specialist - Cerner MillenniumQLD
- FTSoftware DeveloperNSW
- FTPA/Team Assistant, IT EnvironmentNSW
- TPActive Directory EngineerNSW
- FTSoftware Developer - PHPOther
- CCTechnical Architect - Oracle Identity and Access Management - CANBERRA BASEDVIC
- FTSystems Engineer (Wintel) - Midrange L1 & L2ACT
- FTTechnical/ Architecture Java Lead - Move to MelbourneNSW
- CCIT Change CoordinatorNSW
- FTNetwork Architect, Telecommunications InfrastructureOther
- CCSenior .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTData Warehouse DeveloperQLD
- FTJunior-Mid Level Software Support/Project CoordinatorQLD
- TPExpression of Interest - Multiple RolesACT
- FTDB2 Database Designer/Implementer - Needs Security ClearanceOther
- FTTechnical Business AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Business AnalystSA
- FTPMO AnalystOther